Numbness and tingling

Definition

Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in your body, but are often felt in your fingers, hands, feet, arms, or legs.

Causes

There are many possible causes of numbness and tingling:

Numbness and tingling can be caused by other medical conditions, including:

Home Care

Your doctor should find and treat the cause of your numbness or tingling. Treating the condition may make the symptoms go away or stop them from getting worse. For example, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or low back pain, your doctor may recommend certain exercises.

If you have diabetes, your doctor will discuss ways to control your blood sugar levels.

Low levels of vitamins will be treated with vitamin supplements.

Medications that cause numbness or tingling may need to be switched or changed. Do not change or stop taking any of your medicines or take large doses of any vitamins or supplements until you have talked with your doctor.

Because numbness can cause a decrease in feeling, you may be more likely to accidentally injure a numb hand or foot. Take care to protect the area from cuts, bumps, bruises, burns, or other injuries.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Go to a hospital or call your local emergency number (such as 911) if:

Call your doctor if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination, carefully checking your nervous system.

Medical history questions may include:

Your doctor may also ask you questions to determine your risk for stroke, thyroid disease, or diabetes, as well as questions about your work habits and medications.

Blood tests may include:

Imaging tests may include:

Other tests that may be done include:


Review Date: 4/5/2013
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.